Best Smoker & Grill Thermometers for 2018 – A Buyer’s Guide

When grilling, it is important to cook food in the right temperature, usually the recipe specifies how long to cook food and at what temperature for it to be done. But can such tips guarantee that the food really is done on the inside? Even the most experienced people have problems determining if, for example, a thick slab of meat isn’t raw on the inside, and there’s nothing worse than serving the guests raw meat to eat.

During long and slow meat smoking, it is hard to maintain a fixed perfect temperature, and every temperature fluctuation extends the whole meat smoking process, which means that without the right tools it is hard to tell if food is done already.

Of course, most grills and smokers are equipped with thermometers that indicate the temperature inside the grill, but does it actually change anything? The most important thing is for food not to be raw on the inside, and if you want to find out, you’re going to need a good grill & smoker thermometer.

It is actually the only 100% reliable method that allows to check the temperature inside meat, which allows to determine whether the food is done already or if it should actually still be left under the grill’s lid for a while.

Choosing the best smoker thermometer is a hard task because there’s plenty of different competitive models available on the market. Which is why I decided to prepare a little longer guide for you in which you can see my reviews as well as comparison of the most popular smoker thermometers.

I will present thermometers in different price ranges so that everyone can find something for themselves. Some of them offer many interesting options while others are just a simple device without unnecessary gadgets.

Best Smoker Thermometers 2018 – Comparison Table

MODEL

Probes

Probe

Length

PRICE

TOP 3 Pick 

ThermoPro TP20

Best Overall

ThermoPro TP20

3

3

Thermoworks Smoke

Best Upgrade Pick

Thermoworks Smoke

3

3

ThermoPro TP 17

Best Budget Pick

ThermoPro TP17

3

3

Also Great

Thermometer Digital Grill Oven or Smoker

Thermometer Digital Grill Oven or Smoker

3

3

ThermoPro TP 16

ThermoPro TP-16

3

3

thermopro tp 12

ThermoPro TP-12

3

3

How did I pick the best ones?

smoker thermometer probes

By default, the first step is analyzing the offers at online stores, then I choose the models that I believe could be good and I check them out personally at a store. It’s a time-consuming task which is why I understand that not many people have time, interest and money to just analyze the stores’ offer and maybe also wait for some discounts.

The first criterion I take into account right at the beginning is obviously the price. I do realize that most people are very critical about an item’s value which is why at first I create different price ranges. Even though smoker thermometers are not expensive, one can still buy a model that is several times cheaper than the most expensive one.

The price is mostly influenced by different features and gadgets. That’s the second important criterion in my analysis of thermometers for smoker & grill. Then I pay attention to the number of probes, the interface, the maximum temperature, the alarm, wi-fi, the design, the quality of workmanship and quality of elements the grill thermometer was made of, the warranty and many other less important elements.

Based on all that, I create the initial list of good grill & smoker thermometers and give the initial ratings so that it is easier for me later to write a review and give the final rating after the practical tests.

After I analyzed the smoker thermometers available on the market, I decided that I would buy them all at the lowest possible price and put them all through fair practical tests that will conclusively prove which of them deserves which place on my list of best grill thermometers.

How did I test?

monitor temperature using smoker thermometer

My reviews are based on my experience, especially on practical tests that I run in order to find out how each product works in practice. The experience I gain this way is later put into words by creating a guide like this.

After already receiving all the thermometers I ordered, I decided to take a closer look on them and read the manufacturer’s instructions in my free time that are included in every order. In theory, these are not complicated devices but some of them have several new and interesting features that it’s better to read about in order to understand how exactly they work.

So after I got all the thermometers I ordered, I decided to throw a mini party where I would serve such food as pork butt, brisket, steaks, whole turkey and chicken ( mostly thick pieces of meat ). The purpose of that party would be to check how each of the thermometers worked as well as what exact readings it showed when it came to temperature.

That way I could evaluate how accurate each device was and how useful other features were, how clear the digital display was, the interface, the speed, the temperature range and of course how convenient the thermometer was to hold in hand. That way I came to a certain conclusion, plenty of cheap smoker thermometers are actually knockoffs / cheap versions of some other, original model for a higher price.

I wrote down most of the results so that I could later compare them and write reviews based on that. After all the tests and my analyses I decided to evaluate it all, taking the price to quality ratio into account. That way I made a list where you will find the top rated smoker thermometers in different price ranges.

1. Best Overall ThermoPro TP20

The number one among thermometers for those who cook on a grill or a smoker. A great choice for regular people and for professional chefs alike. On one hand, it’s a simple device that shows the exact temperature, on another it’s a thermometer equipped with many interesting features that works great when cooking on a grill or slow meat smoking on a smoker.

Very easy to use and easy to program, equipped with useful alarms, durable construction and a big range of the receiver.

It is not exactly the cheapest choice, but not the most expensive one, either. I’d say that it fits in the middle range and for this kind of price it offers a nice combination of many interesting features.

What does ThermoPro TP 20 have? The package includes one transmitter, one receiver, two probes, 4  batteries ( two for the receiver and two for the transmitter ) plus of course the manual, which is always useful during the first few days of using this device.

The two probes allow you to control the temperature inside meat as well as temperature inside the grill (from 32˚F to 572˚F, it has a feature of displaying the temperature in Celsius ). One big advantage is that this smoker thermometer has a range of up to 300 ft. The maximum temperature that the probes and the wires can withstand, on the other hand, is 716°F (380°C).

Wireless grill thermometer allows you to focus in peace on other things and not to worry whether the temperature inside the grill or inside the meat is right. Instead of constantly monitoring the cooking process, you can focus on other things like talking with your guests. In the meantime, the thermometer will control the temperature, and you will hear the alarm once it is too high/low or when the food reaches the right temperature inside.

What does the interface have to offer? Is has pre-programmed settings with temperatures for different types of meat and pre-programmed settings of the level of being done for different types of meat as well. Of course you can set your own preferred settings. For every setting, you can set an alarm or a timer in order to be sure what the whole grilling process is like and how long it takes. Thermopro TP 20 has features of recording temperature settings and the timer when the device is off.

The basic warranty is 1 year, whereas you can extend it by another 3 years. All you have to do is register your product after the purchase and you get your warranty extended by 3 years for that.

PROS




CONS



What I really like about this thermometer is its simplicity of use and that feeling in your hand that makes you feel like you were holding something solid. It’s a product that is definitely worth its price, which can be confirmed by thousands of reviews from satisfied customers online.

ThermoPro TP20 is also a great customer service which is very important these days when it comes to problems with a product you bought, ThermoPro offers customer service and help of the highest quality.

If you haven’t had a chance before to cook with a smoker & grill thermometer then you have truly no idea what you’re missing out on. Everyone who knows how important temperature is when cooking knows what a useful device a thermometer can be. The more exact the temperature inside the grill and inside the meat, the better food you cook. The worst thing that can be is raw food or overcooked one which makes it dry and that’s why having a good smoker thermometer when cooking is an invaluable help that is worth those few dozen dollars.

ThermoPro TP 20 is undoubtedly one of the best thermometers for smoking, grilling and baking.

2. Best Upgrade Pick Thermoworks Smoke

You’re a professional chef, participate in BBQ competitions or simply need a highest quality smoker thermometer. Thermoworks Smoke is a suggestion for those who value quality and functionality.

This model was made of highest quality elements with attention to detail. Perfect for monitoring temperature when meat smoking, deep-frying, oven-roasting and homebrewing, it is not adapted to high temperatures like when grilling.

It is definitely one of the most expensive thermometers for smokers which is why I recommend it to those who really exhibit a high level in BBQ. Such people will definitely appreciate the quality of this product and understand its price. 

It is not exactly a must for those who are just starting their adventure with meat smoking, a better solution for those people would be slightly cheaper suggestions that I mentioned before.

Thermoworks Smoke comes with plenty of interesting features plus one innovative one, which most competitive thermometers don’t have. I’m talking here about the separately sold Smoke™ Gateway (Wi-Fi bridge for Smoke). It’s a pretty expensive gadget, but I believe there’s plenty of people who will find it great. Smoke Gateway makes it possible to connect the thermometer to your phone where you can monitor the temperature and the cooking process in real time.

The package includes one transmitter and one receiver. The transmitter allows to plug in two probes, which allows to monitor the temperature separately by setting separate alarms in case of the temperature being too high or too low. The receiver has an expanded range, up to 300-feet.

The probes are made of material of commercial-grade quality which is much better than typical smoker thermometers from a supermarket. It is a huge surprise that Thermoworks Smoke is waterproof, which makes it safe to use outside.

The display is pretty big and very clear, you shouldn’t have any problem seeing what’s on the screen while standing a little away from it.

PROS




CONS



It is undoubtedly an expensive product but for those who deal with BBQ professionally, the price is definitely not a problem. It is a highest quality smoker thermometer that is worth its high price. When holding it in your hand, you can feel right away why it costs twice as much as other competitive models.

Thermoworks Smoke is a great, solid, well-made and durable product that is worth considering if you have a little more cash to spend on gadgets for your grill or smoker.

3. Best Budget Pick ThermoPro TP17

Can you buy a good smoker thermometer at low price ( even several times lower than competitive models ) ? – of course you can. It is also one of the simplest smoker thermometers which makes it a good choice for those who don’t like too many features. If you have a very limited budget then it’s a good choice for you.

ThermoPro TP17 offers two probes to monitor two pieces of meat or to control one piece of meat and the inside of the smoker, and you can monitor it all at the same time on one screen.

It has pre-programmed temperatures for different types of meat as well as the ability to set your own temperatures.

You can set the alarm, which will let you know when the meat reaches the right temperature.

The package also includes one battery, whereas there aren’t any extra features at this price such as a receiver and transmitter with wi-fi. For this kind of price it’s a simple device that allows to monitor the temperature using two probes, you can monitor the result in real time on a single display.

An important fact to be noted is that the probes in ThermoPro TP17 are not waterproof, you have to be especially careful not to put the probe plugs anywhere near liquids. If you wish to clean the probes then you should also make sure the plugs are not exposed to water. If it does occur, make sure few times that the whole probe and the plug are dry or else there might be problems.

Just like with other products from ThermoPro, the standard warranty is 1 year, whereas you can extend it by another 3 years by registering the product right after the purchase.

PROS




CONS



It is the best offer for those with a limited budget or with lower expectations, like beginners. It lacks several features but for this kind of money it’s still a great product that you will be satisfied with.

It works well, is easy to use, comes with two independent probes the measures of which are displayed on one screen at the same time, is reliable and displays the exact temperature. What else could one want for this kind of money? The quality is above average, and for this kind of price it really is good news.

4. Thermometer Digital Grill Oven or Smoker

The next suggestion fits in the middle price range by having the basic features that are slightly poorer than my earlier suggestions. The package includes a transmitter and a receiver that has a range of 230 feet. It is slightly less than competitive models but it’s still a satisfying length.

On top of that, you get two waterproof probes that can withstand high temperatures.

The device doesn’t require synchronizing when starting. The system has a selection of pre-programmed temperatures for 8 types of meat. It has a feature of choosing a readout in Fahrenheit or Celsius.

It allows to set alarms when the meat is ready. When the temperature inside meat is right, you will hear the alarm in your receiver or transmitter.

It lacks a much better quality of workmanship, but for this kind of money it’s still on a good level. It also lacks a Wi-FI feature and ability to connect to a phone, but for this kind of price it’s impossible.

PROS




CONS



However, it is undoubtedly a good wireless smoker thermometer that is worth its price. It is not the highest tier, but not the lowest either. If you didn’t like my earlier suggestions then I recommend considering this wireless grill thermometer. It is accurate, has the basic features, remote control ( receiver ) and two probes. That’s everything most of us actually need.

It will work great with a grill, oven, smoker and is perfect for fish, bread, meat, poultry, candy, milk, coffee, frying oil, home brewing etc.

5. ThermoPro TP-16

The cheapest smoker & grill thermometer on my list while also one of the best ones for those with low expectations. If you don’t need a remote thermometer, wifi, advanced features then it’s a good choice for you. It might be a slight downside that it only comes with one probe, but if you need two then check out the newer ThermoPro TP-17 model, which is very similar except for having two probes and several details.

A very simple device which is why it’s cheap, so if you have a very limited budget then consider this suggestion because you won’t find any other good smoker thermometer for that kind of price.

It has a very clear display equipped with a timer, alarms and pre-programmed temperatures for different types of meat and different levels of being done. Which are the basic features that are very good to see in a thermometer for this kind of money.

You can set the timer for, for example, one hour away or set a specific meat temperature. In both cases, if you run out of time or the food reaches the selected temperature, you will hear the alarm.

This thermometer may not be as convenient as the wireless versions that allow you to monitor temperatures while being away from the smoker but you have to know that ThermoPro TP-16 is several times cheaper than most wireless smoker thermometers.

PROS




CONS



Another downside is the fact that it is not a waterproof device which is why you should keep it away from liquids and be careful when cleaning it. It also applies to the probe and the wires, don’t wash them in a dishwasher.

The TP-16 model was made for those who simply need to monitor the temperature of the grill and food without going away from the grill. Its purpose is to be easy to use, durable, accurate and most of all, very cheap.

6. ThermoPro TP-12

If you’re looking for a cheap wireless smoker thermometer that has two probes then the next suggestion is ThermoPro TP12. The package includes two probes, a transmitter equipped with several features and a simple receiver with a range of 300 feet. This option is much cheaper than TP20, which can fit in the middle price range.

It has a one year warranty that can be extended for free after purchase, all you have to do is register the product.

ThermoPro TP12 reads temperature fast and accurately and is a device that is simple to use. Of course, like most competitive models, it is also equipped with a Timer and an Alarm, which notifies you when the food reaches the temperature you set.

The main difference from other models is that TP 12 comes with two different probes. One of them is there to measure the temperature inside meat, while the other is to measure the temperature inside the oven or grill. If you need probes, however, that can be used to simultaneously monitor the temperature inside meat or to monitor the temperature inside the grill then you should choose ThermoPro TP20.

For this kind of price, you also won’t get a waterproof grill thermometer so you have to avoid exposing it to liquids and be careful when washing the probes and the thermometer.

ThermoPro TP12, on the other hand, is a better smoker thermometer that, besides the basic features, also has two different probes. Each of them measures the temperature accurately so you can be sure about the temperature inside meat and inside the smoker.

PROS




CONS



The structure is pretty solid, and if any problems occur, which does happen sometimes, you can be sure that the manufacturer of this thermometer will help you fast. Thermopro represents the highest level of customer service which is why it always gets a higher note from me. Another noteworthy thing is the lifetime warranty for the probe which I believe is very good news since probes are among the most malfunctioning elements of every thermometer.

It is therefore another wireless smoker thermometer that will improve your quality of grilling for a decent low price.

Buyers Guide

smoker thermometers buyers guide

Grill & Smoker Thermometer is a great tool for those who want to be sure if their food is ready. That way you can avoid the kind of situations where your meat is raw or dry, a grill thermometer makes it possible to prepare perfect food even for those who know very little about grilling. Another feature is that you can control the temperature at the grill grates level, which is quite different from the temperature displayed by the thermometer on the grill’s lid which does matter during long meat smoking where a fixed, exact temperature is very important.

It is also a great tool for beginners who definitely have problems cooking perfect food on a grill. The more expensive models are equipped with more interesting features that are very useful for more demanding people ( professional cooks or those participating in competitions ).

Smoker Thermometer is also convenience and making sure that the whole process of, for example, meat smoking goes well. All you have to do is program the thermometer adequately so that it monitors the temperature and notifies you when the meat temperature is right or when the temperature inside the grill is too low or too high. Once it does happen, you will hear the alarm.

There’s plenty of different thermometers available at stores and even though they aren’t very expensive, their prices might vary even several times. Usually you can buy a good smoker thermometer within 15 to 100 dollars. The price is mostly influenced by the features and the quality of workmanship. The most expensive models are for those more demanding, whereas those less professional will be satisfied with a thermometer from the medium price range. More expensive models usually offer a higher range of the receiver, smartphone apps and a bigger number of probes. 

What to pay attention to?

That actually depends on your needs, below I will list and describe the most important aspects regarding the smoker thermometers so that you can make a decision what model will be the best for you. The most important thing is not to buy with your eyes, carefully analyze my suggestions and pick the model that suits your needs best.

  • Price – One of the most important criteria when shopping, what your budget is impacts what you buy. For most people, a smoker thermometer from the middle price range will be enough, but there is also something for those with a very limited budget. You have to be aware, though, that the quality and number of features mostly depends on the price and don’t expect a lot from the cheapest model.
  • Number of probes – The cheapest items mostly have one probe although you can also find an item on my list that has two probes. If you’re only interested in monitoring temperature inside meat then one probe will be enough for you. If, however, you want to monitor the temperature inside the grill and inside the food at the same time, you have to look for two probes.
  • Whether it’s wireless – It may not be a necessary feature for everyone, but it’s worth mentioning. Pay attention to whether the smoker thermometer you’re interested in is wireless. It allows to spend time away from the grill while monitoring the temperature on the receiver where the signal from the transmitter goes to. This feature is present in more expensive models and provides a lot of convenience to those who often sear meat for many hours.
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    Manufacturer’s warranty – One of the most common problems that occur in thermometers is a problem with probes. Pay attention to what warranty the manufacturer offers for your model, especially for the probes. Many manufacturers provide a lifetime warranty for the probes which is a very convenient solution for the buyer.

What should a good Smoker & Grill Thermometer be like?

  • Accurate – This is crucial when it comes to this tool if it’s meant to be a good help in cooking. Accuracy guarantees that the food will be perfect, and that’s what it’s all about.
  • Functional – Of course, depending on your needs and your budget, a smoker thermometer should be as functional as possible. It means that it needs to have features that increase the convenience significantly and make it easier to control the whole process of monitoring temperatures inside the meat and the grill. Among functional items are certainly a timer, an alarm, Wi-Fi, a mobile app. One big advantage is the feature of displaying the temperature in Fahrenheit and Celsius. Very useful if you use global recipes where the temperature is usually provided in Celsius.
  • Easy to use – Every digital smoker & grill thermometer has a display and interface that shouldn’t be complicated. Of course it’s a priority to have a clear and understandable manual that can introduce a beginner into the basics of using the new device fast and easily.
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    Durable – Of course each of us would like things we buy to be indestructible. Sadly that’s not the case, and durability depends on what materials the manufacturer used to make it. If you want your smoker thermometer and probes to be waterproof then you have to look around for slightly more expensive items. Cheaper models are made of poorer quality materials and one has to be careful when washing them and avoid exposing them to liquids. 

Conclusion

There are many different smoker & grill thermometers on the market, the above suggestions were made for different groups of people. If you have more cash then I recommend buying a wireless smoker thermometer, if you’re a professional chef then it’s a really good idea to buy a high-end model, and if you cook on a grill occasionally or simply have a limited budget then consider my cheapest suggestions, which have all the necessary basic features.

Analyze my advice above and think about which model suits you best. I hope that my guide will make the task significantly easier for you and you will buy a smoker thermometer that you will be really satisfied with.

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